Increased regulation and intervention to become the norm

To understand the push towards greater regulation and intervention in Canberra at present, we need to understand that many view market forces and government policies to date to have failed in many respects.

While Australia has enjoyed decades of largely uninterrupted economic growth, there is an increasing view that the success of some is coming to the disadvantage of others.

Australia enjoys some of the highest living standards in the world, as measured by GDP per capita, but inequality is rising.  In the decade to 2019, ABS data shows the average household net wealth of people in the top quintile grew by 20 per cent, while shrinking by 10 per cent for those at the bottom.

Contributing to this has been an unresponsive labour market in some sectors, with high demand for workers, and limited supply, failing to push up wages in industries like aged care.

There is also a sense that we are stealing from future generations.  Australia has amongst the highest greenhouse gas emissions per capita in the world, including emitting more emissions per capita from coal fired power generation than any other nation. And, between 2000 and 2017, cleared an area the size of Tasmania in threatened species habitat.

Given the urgency of the climate transition, its wide-ranging impacts on people and planet, and an increasing view that the market cannot deliver the transition by itself, industry, globally, can likely expect more regulation and intervention, not less, in the years ahead.

This article also appeared in The West Australian newspaper.


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